Respite: A Solution for Michigan Caregivers this Summer

Respite: A Solution for Michigan Caregivers this Summer

If you are one of the one million family caregivers in the state of Michigan, a summer getaway may not seem very realistic. Especially if heading out of town to enjoy one of Michigan’s lakes or beaches with your own children means leaving your elderly loved one home alone. Even if you did manage to get away for a few days, the worry over how they were managing on their own would likely keep you from relaxing and enjoying the trip. That is where respite care comes in. Respite can offer you a safe solution for your loved one and peace of mind for yourself.

What is Respite Care?

Respite is a short-term stay in an independent or assisted living community, such as one of the Heritage Senior Communities. It offers your aging loved one access to the same services and amenities that are available to permanent residents of the community. They enjoy the same healthy meals. Have the opportunity to participate in diverse life enrichment programs and activities. And the staff is close by to help your loved one with everything you typically do for them. From providing medication reminders to assistance with bathing and grooming, a respite stay for an aging parent offers peace of mind for family caregivers.

Most communities welcome respite visitors for lengths of stay ranging from a few days up to one month. Some families utilize respite several times a year to allow them time to travel or take care of personal business. Others use respite as a trial stay or “test run” to see how well an elderly loved one adjusts to a senior living community.

To help make a respite stay go more smoothly for your loved one, you might consider bringing them for a visit at the community before you head out of town. That gives staff the opportunity to get to know them and time to introduce them to other residents with similar interests. Most communities would welcome you to stay for lunch or for dinner.

How to Find Respite Care

If you live in Michigan and would like to learn more about respite care, we invite you to call the Heritage Senior community closest to you . Any one of our team members will be glad to help. If you live outside the state of Michigan, Respite Locator can help you find care in your area.

Are you a Michigan caregiver for an aging loved one?

Have you ever used respite? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Exercises to Help Older Drivers in Michigan

Exercises to Help Older Drivers in Michigan

As the number of adults over the age of 65 in Michigan continues to climb, the average age of drivers on our roads climbs too. Contrary to the stereotype we see in the media about older drivers, they are not creating the greatest risks on the road. Teenagers still lead the way in the number of accidents that harm other drivers. Instead, seniors are more likely to be a hazard to themselves. Older drivers in Michigan are no different.

According to the Institute for Highway Safety, older drivers are more likely to have an accident where they are injured. In 2009, almost 4,000 drivers 70 and older died in automobile accidents.

MIT AgeLab and The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence conducted a study that explored the relationship between physical fitness and older drivers. They discovered that exercise can play a key role in keeping older drivers safe behind the wheel. That is because physical activity can help improve range of motion and flexibility.

Surveyors examined three areas that older drivers identified as difficult:

  • Turning their neck, shoulders and upper body to look behind them – the action you take when backing out of your driveway or a parking space at the mall.
  • Bending down to slide behind the wheel of the car. Getting in and out of their car was often considered difficult for older adults in the study. We know that seniors are at greater risk from falls when entering and exiting a vehicle.
  • Turning their head to look over their shoulder while driving. This makes it difficult to merge in traffic and change lanes on the highway.

Using that insight, researchers developed a series of exercises that worked on improving four key areas for older adults: overall strength, flexibility, range of motion and coordination. The eight exercises they recommend are no-impact and many can even be performed while seated.

After eight to ten weeks of participating in the exercise training program, older drivers reported:

  • Greater ease in turning their head to back up and to check their blind spot.
  • Better able to rotate their bodies to survey their driving environment.
  • Stronger muscle tone and flexibility helped them get in and out of their car more easily.

Exercise for Mature Drivers is a free download from The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence and MIT AgeLab.


What do you think? Are you an older driver in Michigan?

Let us know what you think about these exercises after you try them!

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